Home-and-home series against a division rival usually adds a little flavour. And it was the case Friday night between the Canmore Eagles and the Olds Grizzlys who were battling at the Olds Sportsplex for the first game of a weekend home-and-home series. In a wild game that featured 13 goals and 74 penalty minutes, the Eagles come out on top winning 8-5. With the win, the Eagles improve their record to 17-24-4 for 38 points, but they remain 9 points back of the Camrose Kodiaks for 4th Place in the AJHL South Division.

?They came out hard and we got caught off guard,? said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. ?But we were able to battle back and stick with our game.?
Six goals were scored in the opening period, with each team getting 3 apiece. The Grizzlys scored first on a goal from Tye Scherger at 7:31. The Eagles answered back on a Power Play goal from Michael Spafford at 11:37. It was his 5th goal of the season with Alex Young and Dylan Witzke assisting. The Grizzlys regained the lead with a Power Play goal of their own at 12:48, courtesy of Hunter Floris. But only 37 seconds later, the Eagles got back on even terms with rookie forward Tristan Zandee?s 11th goal of the season. Cameron Chin and Ethan Schaeffer assisted. Then at 15:29, the Eagles took the lead on a Power Play goal from Zach Carlson. Getting the assists were Spafford and Young. But before the end of the period, the Grizzlys tied the game at 3-3 at 18:02 on Hunter Floris? 2nd goal of the game.

In the 2nd period, the Eagles regained the lead off Banff native Kazu Prevost?s 4th goal of the season with Zandee and Schaeffer getting the assists. But once again, the Grizzlys tied at the game midway through the period, on a goal from former Eagles Defenceman Brent Schuldhaus who was dealt to Olds just a week ago. Ethan Schaeffer got the Eagles back on top with a Power Play goal at 18:46, his 9th of the campaign. Tye Carriere and Mitch Watson assisted.

Early in the 3rd period, the Eagles took advantage of a 2-man advantage to go up by 2, as Zach Carlson scored his 2nd of the night at 1:10 with Young and Witzke assisting. Carlson has now 13 goals this season. At 13:40, another player was able to score against his former team, but this time it was Eagles Lukas Jirousek with his 1st since joining the Eagles last week. Jirousek played with Olds last season. His goal was also his 7th of the campaign. The Grizzlys were able to get within two with a Power Play goal from Noah Hackett at 18:33, but Eagles newly acquired Defenceman Cameron Chin put the game to bed with an empty-net goal at 22 seconds left in the game. It was his 1st goal in his 1st game as an Eagle. Zandee and Carriere assisted.

Coach Milne was pretty impressed with the performance of Chin in his first game with his new team saying, ?I thought he was awesome! He?s exactly what we thought he was. He moves the puck well, he skates well and he defended well. Considering it was his first game with a new team, I thought he did really well.?

It was Kadin Kilpatrick who got the nod between the pipes for the Eagles. He made 25 saves on 30 shots to improve his record to 8-10-4.
?Kadin had a shaky start and he struggled in the 1st,? said Coach Milne. ?But he knew he had to be good, so after the 1st period, he battled and he made some really key saves.?

The two teams are back at it Saturday night at the Canmore Rec Centre for the back end of the Home-and-Home series. Puck drop is 7 pm.
?I?m expecting the same thing,? said Coach Milne. ?They will come out hard, be physical with some blood just like tonight and our guys better be ready.?

– Alex Young and Connor Lyons are now tied for the most points on the team with 63. In the AJHL scoring race, they are tied for 8th.
– After Saturday night?s game, the Eagles will get to enjoy a week of practice, before they host the Okotoks Oilers (34-6-3) on Friday night for our 106.5 Mountain FM game that Sportsnet will be live on location for. Puck drop is at 7 pm.